That's probably not going to happen. But the effective videos introduced last year are going to be a big deal for online marketers.

Andy Taylor

Andy Taylor, director of research at Tinuiti

Steals and deals might have made all the headlines on Amazon Prime Day, but Sponsored Brands Video ads were the clear breakout winner of the event and have continued to grow quietly in popularity through the holidays and beyond.

This is a trend that, for some reason, no one is talking about. Yet, these tiny little commercials promise to become increasingly important in the months and years to come.

The new tool, which Amazon rolled out universally in 2020, incorporates videos from Sponsored Brands ads into search results. The ads quickly exploded in popularity, and it’s not because they look cool. It’s because they are astonishingly effective for returning outcomes.

In December 2020, our research showed that 18 times as many advertisers deployed Sponsored Brands Video ads in April. The videos produced a click-through rate of more than 440% higher than olden-timey static ads in Q4 while driving a conversion rate that was nearly 30% higher than static images.

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Those are the kind of results that make marketers want to ugly cry, albeit with tears of joy. If these numbers don’t sound impressive to you, imagine if after watching a Super Bowl commercial for Budweiser, almost one out of every five people peeled themselves off their couch and drove directly to the store to buy a six-pack. And while shopping on an ecommerce site is, of course, vastly different than passively watching linear TV, the comparison is designed to highlight how much more effective and measurable one can be over the other.

Sponsored Brands overall saw a huge boost on Prime Day with a nearly 600% increase in sales. Only one-fifth of those ads were videos. The rest were standard ads. Yet, the videos were the jetpack behind the stratospheric boost in sales.

Video ads work

It’s not news that video ads are more effective than standard ads. Viewers retain 95% of the message when watching a video compared to only 10% when reading it. But what’s interesting to note is that most of the time, when videos pop up trying to sell you things, they’re interrupting you from something you want to see. But in the Amazon environment, people aren’t there to do anything but shop. These little mini commercials, which usually run anywhere from 10 to 30 seconds, can enhance the customer experience.

Another interesting thing to chew on is that these videos, clearly appealing for growing upper-funnel awareness, turn out to be hard-charging workhorses that are crazy efficient in driving performance. What we have going on here is a “come-for-the brand-building, stay-for-the-performance-marketing” type of situation.

Another fascinating takeaway is that with these ads, Amazon upgrades its own customer experience by featuring highly engaging video content that its sellers are producing themselves. This is logical because brands know the product better and get instant metrics on how their content performs.

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Advertisers who still think of Amazon as a direct response channel might want to think again. They’ve been hard at work these past few years to create an environment where brands can create stickier connections to consumers. And the success of the new video ads is a clear indication that, more and more, Amazon is becoming a place where marketers can both build brands and sell more stuff. It’s not either/or anymore.

Tinuiti is a performance marketing agency.  

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